The UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative again hangs in the balance ahead of an extension deadline at midnight on Monday.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres indicated last week that the full implementation of the agreements first signed in Istanbul, Türkiye in July last year, were critical to ensuring that food and fertilizer exports from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation continued to reach global markets to benefit food security.
Russia has threatened to pull out of the agreement after President Vladimir Putin said obstacles to his country’s food and fertilizer exports had yet to be fulfilled. While the UN says almost 33 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs have been exported under the agreement, Russia has complained that western sanctions hamper the exports of its agricultural and fertilizer products.
UN Chief Guterres sent a letter to President Putin last week with proposals to remove hurdles affecting financial transactions through the country’s agricultural bank among other measures.
The UN says the objective is to remove hurdles affecting Russian financial transactions while simultaneously allowing for the continued flow of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. The last ship to travel under the deal left a Ukrainian Port in Odesa earlier Sunday.
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